Qingxi Village in Hunan Province boosts economy by developing cultural tourism
When it comes to rural revitalization, developing the agricultural industry seems to be one of the most obvious measures, but there are many other ways to boost the local economy in rural areas.
Qingxi Village in central China's Hunan Province is one such example.
Qingxi is the birth place of Zhou Libo, who was a famous Chinese novelist. It is also the place that inspired him to write one of his most well-known books, "Great Changes in a Mountain Village".
Zhou's book tells the story of how cooperative production helped boost the agricultural industry in Qingxi, and thereby revitalized the local economy in the 1950s. Decades have passed, and now Qingxi has found another pitching point. It has used Zhou's influence among literature lovers, and turned his former residence into a tourist attraction, making the whole village a national 4A-rated scenic spot with various cultural and literary attractions.
"In 2018, the rural revitalization measures were implemented here, which further enriched our cultural tourism products. Originally, our main focus was on farmhouse experiencing and Zhou Libo's former residence. But now we have guesthouses, a theater and so on. So, there are more visitors," said Ouyang Peng, a leading cadre staying at Qingxi.
More tourists means more business opportunities. Some residents that had to look for business opportunities in big cities, have now returned home.
"Since the year before last, we've seen great business opportunities in Qingxi, so we opened a guesthouse here. The best thing about returning home is that we now can live close to our parents and children," said Zhou Qin, who owns the first private guesthouse that opened in Qingxi.
Another cultural attraction of Qingxi is its bookstores. They are either owned by local residents themselves, or jointly managed by residents and other organizations and businesses.
"Opening bookstores is an important part of our construction of a 'literature village'. One business model is that villagers rent out their houses, and they receive rebates through cooperating with publishing houses and large bookstores," said He Zhi'ang, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party branch in Qingxi.
In 2021, this village with less than 10,000 residents welcomed around 1 million travelers. Authorities say they will further develop local tourism, and hope one day it can become a place of pilgrimage for literary lovers.